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You are here: Home Free Software Supporter 2020 Free Software Supporter - Issue 144, April 2020

Free Software Supporter - Issue 144, April 2020

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Mar 04, 2020 12:21 PM

Welcome to the Free Software Supporter, the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) monthly news digest and action update -- being read by you and 227,223 other activists. That's 717 more than last month!

HACKERS and HOSPITALS: How you can help

From March 31st

Free software activists, as well as many scientists and medical professionals, have long since realized that proprietary medical software and devices are neither ethical nor adequate to our needs. The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated some of these shortcomings to a broader audience -- and has also given our community a unique opportunity to offer real, material help at a difficult time.

We're putting together a plan to pitch in: check out the wiki page at https://libreplanet.org/wiki/HACKERS_and_HOSPITALS, and if you have expertise, 3D printers, or supplies to contribute, please contact Michael via sysadmin@fsf.org. If you do not have the means to produce medical gear and you still want to help, research can be done from anywhere with only a computer and an Internet connection. Add any projects that are freely licensed working towards helping with COVID-19 to the wiki!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Hospitals need to repair ventilators. Manufacturers are making that impossible
  • Software Freedom Conservancy's remote work tools
  • "Freeware," free software and the coronavirus crisis: Choose your tools wisely!
  • Looking back at LibrePlanet 2020: Freeing the future together
    • LibrePlanet day 1: Can free software carry an entire online conference? Yes, it can!
    • LibrePlanet 2020 online: Second day of the conference closes on a high note
    • Young hackers to deliver opening keynote for LibrePlanet conference
    • Let's Encrypt, Jim Meyering, and Clarissa Lima Borges receive FSF's 2019 Free Software Awards
    • Celebrating women in free software for International Women’s Day
    • Everything you need to know about LibrePlanet 2020, now fully online!
  • Zoom iOS application sends data to Facebook even if you don’t have a Facebook account
  • The EARN IT Bill is the US government’s plan to scan every message online
  • GNOME 3.36 released
  • Emacs 27.0.90 is out!
  • GCC 9.3 released
  • Modern GNU/Linux systems should run old games
  • March GNU Emacs news
  • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory
  • LibrePlanet featured resource: HACKERS and HOSPITALS
  • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 15 new GNU releases!
  • FSF and other free software events
  • Thank GNUs!
  • GNU copyright contributions
  • Translations of the Free Software Supporter
  • Take action with the FSF!

View this issue online here: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2020/april

Encourage your friends to subscribe and help us build an audience by adding our subscriber widget to your Web site.

Miss an issue? You can catch up on back issues at https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter.

Want to read this newsletter translated into another language? Scroll to the end to read the Supporter in French, Spanish, or Portuguese.


Hospitals need to repair ventilators. Manufacturers are making that impossible

From March 18th by Jason Koebler

Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) on medical equipment has always been a threat to human health and lives, as well as a violation of our rights, and now DRM on ventilators may actually cost lives: the software restrictions imposed by medical device companies are making our response to the coronavirus pandemic harder.

The FSF is currently exploring ways to help spread knowledge about how to make badly needed medical devices more available -- keep an eye on our Web site for updates. In the meantime, learn more about the fight against DRM at https://www.defectivebydesign.org/.

Software Freedom Conservancy's remote work tools

From March 17th by Deb Nicholson

Conservancy has been a 100% remote organization for over five years and is now a remote organization by design. We are dedicated to empowering users through software freedom, and we always use free software tools to do our work wherever possible. As many folks are newly switching to remote work or collaboration as part of "social distancing," it seems like a good time to share the "free as in freedom" tools we use and tell you how they work for us.

"Freeware," free software and the coronavirus crisis: Choose your tools wisely!

From March 30th by Free Software Foundation Europe

The software industry may appear to be trying to do its part to help in the coronavirus crisis by giving users access to trial versions of proprietary programs. But, before you go ahead and take advantage of this generosity, you may want to read the fine print. What looks like a great relief today might turn into a burden tomorrow.

You should be wary of offers coming from proprietary software vendors. Among self-employed workers, home office programs (word processors, spreadsheets, databases) are in great demand, for example. But be careful with what you choose: Once the crisis is over, you may wake up to a stringent vendor lock-in, with unexpected costs and other problems attached. The same goes for companies asking employees to work from home. The solutions they choose to overcome the challenges of remote working can cause problems which will backfire in the future, once the crisis has passed.

Looking back at LibrePlanet 2020: Freeing the future together

From March 26th

On March 14 and 15, the FSF held LibrePlanet 2020: "Free the Future" online. The virtual edition of LibrePlanet was nothing short of a success, and it was quite a journey to get there.

Within the scope of five days, we were able to move the conference from an in-person experience to a live streaming event, thanks to the heroic efforts of our talented tech team, our volunteers, and the flexibility and cooperation of our scheduled speakers, even some previously unscheduled ones. We hosted three sessions at a time for both days of the conference, bringing viewers thirty-five streamed talks from forty-five speakers, as well as eight lightning talks. Technical difficulties were few and far between, and when one of our speakers asked how many nations were tuning in, within the span of eighteen seconds, twelve countries were identified.

If you didn't get to participate, or want to check out the talks you missed: video will be released soon at https://media.libreplanet.org/.

LibrePlanet day 1: Can free software carry an entire online conference? Yes, it can!

From March 14th

Sometimes, all of your best-laid plans can go awry, and when COVID-19 collided with LibrePlanet 2020, the FSF staff and management had to make an incredibly tough decision: how were we to weigh the risk of a spreading pandemic against our most important yearly event?

Thankfully, free software activists aren't afraid of a little adversity, and are accustomed to taking on challenges. In only a few days, we fully shifted gears to deliver the LibrePlanet 2020 program remotely, with online talks streaming in from all over the world. We're so grateful to our speakers, who have been so flexible, and to the last-minute benefactors that volunteered to help fill any gaps that might ensue. All this allowed us to present you with a nearly full program for the event!

LibrePlanet 2020 online: Second day of the conference closes on a high note

From March 15th

The second day of the unstoppable LibrePlanet 2020 conference showcased more speakers and contributors making great strides in the movement.

Young hackers to deliver opening keynote for LibrePlanet conference

From March 4th

The opening keynote for the LibrePlanet 2020 conference was a panel of impressive young free software community members. The panelists were Alyssa Rosenzweig, a free software hacker working at Collabora, Taowa, a sysadmin, free software enthusiast, and the youngest (non-uploading) Debian developer, and Erin Moon, whose free software work has focused on federated social media software as a user, contributor, and maintainer; the panel was hosted by Greg Farough, the FSF's campaigns manager.

Let's Encrypt, Jim Meyering, and Clarissa Lima Borges receive FSF's 2019 Free Software Awards

From March 14th

This year's Free Software Award recipients are Let's Encrypt, Jim Meyering, and Clarissa Lima Borges. As the ceremony was conducted virtually this year, each winner selected the person to present them the award.

Celebrating women in free software for International Women’s Day

From March 6th

International Women's Day was celebrated on Sunday, March 8 this year, and in this blog, we honored some of the very impressive women slated to participate in LibrePlanet 2020, including keynote speakers Shannon Dosemagen and Alyssa Rosenzweig, as well as former keynote Micky Metts and journalist Lucy Ingham.

Everything you need to know about LibrePlanet 2020, now fully online!

From March 12th

It was a bumpy road, but in just three days, FSF staff retooled the LibrePlanet 2020 into our first-ever online-only conference, via a fully-free streaming setup. In this post, we detailed some of the changes and gave instructions on how to participate.

Zoom iOS application sends data to Facebook even if you don’t have a Facebook account

From March 26th by Joseph Cox

Zoom videoconferencing has become a very popular way for workplaces to manage meetings in the era of COVID-19, as well as a way for people to stay connected with loved ones. However, as with all proprietary social software, this comes with major privacy tradeoffs: in this case, the iOS version of the Zoom app is sending some analytics data to Facebook, even if Zoom users don't have a Facebook account, according to a Motherboard analysis of the app.

You deserve better from the software that you use to maintain your work, your relationships, and your sanity during quarantine, and the FSF will be releasing a guide to the best options currently available shortly.

The EARN IT Bill is the US government’s plan to scan every message online

From March 12th by Joe Mullin

Imagine an Internet where the law required every message sent to be read by government-approved scanning software. Companies that handle such messages wouldn’t be allowed to securely encrypt them, or they’d lose legal protections that allow them to operate.

That’s what the US Senate Judiciary Committee has proposed and hopes to pass into law. The so-called EARN IT bill, sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), will strip Section 230 protections away from any Web site that doesn’t follow a list of “best practices,” meaning those sites can be sued into bankruptcy. The “best practices” list will be created by a government commission, headed by Attorney General William Barr, who has made it very clear he would like to ban encryption, and guarantee law enforcement “legal access” to any digital message.

The FSF opposes bulk government surveillance of online communications because of its chilling effects on whistleblowing and other kinds of communications necessary for the free software movement. Read more at https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/surveillance.

GNOME 3.36 released

From March 11 by the GNOME Project

We are pleased to announce the official release of GNOME 3.36: “Gresik.” Version 3.36 contains six months of work by the GNOME community and includes many improvements, performance enhancements, and new features.

Emacs 27.0.90 is out!

From March 3rd by Nicolas Petton

The first pretest for Emacs version 27 has been released! Enter an enchanted world of parenthetical wonderment -- and please report any bugs to the maintainers!

GCC 9.3 released

From March 12th by the GCC developers

The GNU Project and the GCC developers are pleased to announce the release of GCC 9.3. This release is a bug-fix release, containing fixes for regressions in GCC 9.2 relative to previous releases of GCC.

Modern GNU/Linux systems should run old games

From March 26th by Shivam Gulati

In his talk at LibrePlanet 2020, developer Dennis Payne tried to look back and pointed out that modern GNU/Linux no longer runs “older” free software games. There are workarounds to play older games on the modern GNU/Linux system, like installing the older version of the library. However, this process usually consumes a lot of time, and sometimes, it doesn’t even work.

March GNU Emacs news

From March 30th by Sacha Chua

In these issues: modern Emacs lisp libraries, exploring Org mode, Starter Kits other than Spacemacs and Doom, and more!

Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory

Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions to version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing. The Free Software Directory has been a great resource to software users over the past decade, but it needs your help staying up-to-date with new and exciting free software projects.

To help, join our weekly IRC meetings on Fridays. Meetings take place in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org, and usually include a handful of regulars as well as newcomers. Freenode is accessible from any IRC client -- Everyone's welcome!

The next meeting is Friday, April 3, from 12pm to 3pm EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC). Details here:

LibrePlanet featured resource: HACKERS and HOSPITALS

Every month on the LibrePlanet wiki, we highlight one resource that is interesting and useful -- often one that could use your help.

For this month, we are highlighting HACKERS and HOSPITALS, which provides information about connecting healthcare professionals, hackers, makers, engineers, biomedical innovators, and crafters to help manufacture items needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. You are invited to adopt, spread and improve this important resource.

Do you have a suggestion for next month's featured resource? Let us know at campaigns@fsf.org.

GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 15 new GNU releases!

15 new GNU releases in the last month (as of March 26, 2020):

For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu.

To download: nearly all GNU software is available from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors from https://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html. You can use the URL https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance: please see https://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at https://www.gnu.org/help/help.html.

If you have a working or partly working program that you'd like to offer to the GNU project as a GNU package, see https://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.

As always, please feel free to write to us at maintainers@gnu.org with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.

FSF and other free software events

Thank GNUs!

We appreciate everyone who donates to the Free Software Foundation, and we'd like to give special recognition to the folks who have donated $500 or more in the last month.

This month, a big Thank GNU to:

  • Alan Stein
  • Ben Abrams
  • Ed Price
  • Nathan Boy
  • Sven Wallage

You can add your name to this list by donating at https://donate.fsf.org/.

GNU copyright contributions

Assigning your copyright to the Free Software Foundation helps us defend the GNU GPL and keep software free. The following individuals have assigned their copyright to the FSF (and allowed public appreciation) in the past month:

  • Alexander Eulenberg (Gnulib)
  • Condition-ALPHA Digital Broadcast Technology Consulting (Emacs)
  • Jaehwang Jung (Emacs)
  • Michael de Lang (GCC)
  • SunegKi Kim (Emacs)

Want to see your name on this list? Contribute to GNU and assign your copyright to the FSF.

Translations of the Free Software Supporter

El Free Software Supporter está disponible en español. Para ver la versión en español haz click aqui: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2020/abril

Para cambiar las preferencias de usuario y recibir los próximos números del Supporter en español, haz click aquí: https://my.fsf.org/civicrm/profile/create?reset=1&gid=34&id={contact.contact_id}&{contact.checksum}

Le Free Software Supporter est disponible en français. Pour voir la version française cliquez ici: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2020/avril

Pour modifier vos préférences et recevoir les prochaines publications du Supporter en français, cliquez ici: https://my.fsf.org/civicrm/profile/create?reset=1&gid=34&id={contact.contact_id}&{contact.checksum}

O Free Software Supporter está disponível em português. Para ver a versão em português, clique aqui: https://www.fsf.org/free-software-supporter/2020/abril-p

Para alterar as preferências do usuário e receber as próximas edições do Supporter em português, clique aqui: https://my.fsf.org/civicrm/profile/create?reset=1&gid=34&id={contact.contact_id}&{contact.checksum}

Take action with the FSF!

Contributions from thousands of individual members enable the FSF's work. You can contribute by joining at https://my.fsf.org/join. If you're already a member, you can help refer new members (and earn some rewards) by adding a line with your member number to your email signature like:

I'm an FSF member -- Help us support software freedom! https://my.fsf.org/join

The FSF is always looking for volunteers (https://www.fsf.org/volunteer). From rabble-rousing to hacking, from issue coordination to envelope stuffing -- there's something here for everybody to do. Also, head over to our campaigns section (https://www.fsf.org/campaigns) and take action on software patents, Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), free software adoption, OpenDocument, and more.

Copyright © 2020 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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